- Of late, the courts are in the forefront not mincing words in critiquing the police investigation during trials of various offenses committed. There are several instances of courts laying bare the tardy, casual, and lackadaisical approach adopted by the police while presenting the case for hearing. One such case has caught the attention of the entire nation about the 2020 Delhi riots. While hearing the case, the judges’ observations citing poor evidence and subsequently leading to granting of bail should raise alarm bells in the corridors of investigating agencies. Cases coming up for hearing should hopefully lead to better methods being deployed for the many riot cases or for that matter any other cases. Otherwise, it will go a similar way when alleged rioters were acquitted in July during the first trial stage itself.
- In the instant case, noting many inconsistencies in witness statements, the court issued multiple bail orders as the judges cited poor evidence as to their reason for granting the same. While rejigging memories, it strikes as to how the Delhi high court ordered bail for three anti-CAA activists in June, despite their being charged with the draconian Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA). The court also observed that protesting and dissenting does not amount to terrorism. Mind you, the courts should not resort to issuing such observations as the police investigators should know the matter implicitly. Understandably, the police’s job is huge as in the Delhi riot investigation where 755 FIRs and 1818 arrests were made as reported this February.
- Nonetheless, it also raises pertinent questions as to why such a large number of arrests were undertaken in the first place. Does it indicate failings in preventive policing, or it points to a quantity over quality approach in an investigation, and no wonder, the courts are also finding basic lapses in policing methods as well. As is widely reported, you would be left surprised to note that in a case involving acid burn injuries to police personnel, cops failed to collect chemical samples from the crime scene for forensic analysis. It is a basic policing procedure that was inexplicably bypassed indicating how callous the police were affecting their colleagues bearing the brunt. Just imagine what would be the state concerning ordinary citizens seeking justice.
- One of the judges’ exasperated remarks of very poor standards of investigation and half-baked charge sheets in many riots cases sums up the matter. It is best left to the imagination of comprehending lot as to how callous, inefficient, and unproductive framing of charges will withstand higher scrutiny during actual trials. Another instance will not only leave us flummoxed but also brutally expose the farcical nature of inquiry being conducted by the police who could not trace the victim but still went ahead with the charge sheet of two for attempted murder. It is imperative police forces across the country should take note of the Delhi courts’ critiques by earnestly correcting their methodologies to ensure criminal justice will not become the butt of a joke.